This is the time of year when many tenants are thinking of lighting up the fireplace to keep the cold away. At such times it is always good to remind landlords and tenants alike of the hazards associated with the activity and what you can do to prevent accidental fires from happening. We, at Agon Management, recommend you follow these thirteen fireplace safety tips and guidelines. As long as they are respected, there should be no reason why we can’t all stay safe and warm this winter.
1. Fireplaces should be cleaned before the temperature drops. Particularly those of apartments, which tend to be smaller and not as well-built as home fireplaces and hence more dangerous.
2. Keep all flammable materials at a safe distance from the fireplace to keep these from catching fire. Heat will radiate and possibly ignite items such as trees, curtains, holiday décor and furniture placed near the fireplace.
3. Keep the damper open so as to allow for a free air circulation of gases and smoke.
4. Make sure to use the metal mesh screen to prevent sparks from flying.
5. Leave the inlets and glass doors slightly open when the fire is burning to minimize smoke build-up.
6. Never use flammable liquids such as charcoal lighter fluid, kerosene, alcohol or gasoline to start a fire in the apartment or rental unit.
7. Piggybacking on the last point, never soak rolled paper in any flammable liquid. This can create a strong and dangerous flare up.
8. Burn manufactured logs one at a time when using them. Remember that smaller fires consume the log completely while producing less smoke versus larger fires that burn beyond their capacity.
9. Keep a non-expired easy-to-use fire extinguisher near by.
10. Burn only certain seasoned woods like maple, oak, etc. Other woods, like Pinon, are not good for fireplace burning in that they leave a tar-like, flammable residue inside the fireplace flue once fully consumed by the fire.
11. Make sure the rental unit or apartment’s smoke detectors are working properly and placed near the bedrooms and the fireplace.
12. Store firewood well away from the fireplace. Termites can often be found in firewood and can cause damage to other wooded parts of the home.
13. Never leave a fireplace fire unattended, particularly at night when you want to go to sleep or when you want to leave your home. The fire needs to be extinguished every time.